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Key figures rallying around leader Nick Clegg

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Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said voters' rejection of the Alternative Vote system came as a bitter blow

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said voters' rejection of the Alternative Vote system came as a bitter blow

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said voters' rejection of the Alternative Vote system came as a bitter blow

Nick Clegg's potential successors rallied around him yesterday, killing off any suggestion that his leadership was under threat.

Four MPs could harbour dreams of replacing him, were Mr Clegg to be forced out.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has been the most vociferous Liberal Democrat minister in taking on his Tory colleagues over their brutal campaign against the alternative vote (AV).

Business Secretary Vince Cable has also made little secret of his distaste for his Conservative partners, describing them after the AV vote as “ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal”.

The party's 40-year-old president Tim Farron insisted he would be standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Mr Clegg in the fight for “radical and progressive” policies.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, is on the same wing of the party and is regarded by some left-minded activists as its conscience.

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